Ames Straw Poll: Bits and Pieces From the Campaign Trail

Aug 13, 2011 10:56am

Bachmann: "I Love You All!" The Minnesota congresswoman concluded her speech at the Ames Straw Poll by shouting "I love you, I love you all" to the cheering crowd. ABC New's Amy Walter snapped a photo of Michele Bachmann entering the stage:                 Kanneth notes that the sidewall of Michele Bachmann's Straw Poll tent has been opened because of the large crowds.                 Coliseum Playlist While GOP supporters at the Hilton Coliseum in Ames anxiously awaited the results of the Straw Poll, they rocked out to some Top 20 tunes. ABC's Polson Kanneth reports that they played the following: "Single Ladies" by Beyonce "F-You" by Cee-Lo Green ("Forget You" edited version) Chuck and Huck
Mike Huckabee, who finished in second place in the past Ames Straw Poll, was spotted by Kanneth chatting with Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley.                 The "Little Engine That Could" Campaign Two days after presidential candidate Rick Santorum had to raise his hand to get called on during a nationally-televised GOP presidential debate, he told an audience at the Ames Straw Poll that he was an underdog just trying to break through in a crowded field of candidates, ABC's Michael Falcone reports. “This campaign is about scratching and clawing for every bit of recognition we can get,” Santorum said inside the Hilton Coliseum on the campus of Iowa State University. "This is the little-engine-that-could campaign.” 'Pawty' Time With today’s straw poll so crucial to his campaign, Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty told the crowd here in Ames that they should judge him – and his rivals – on results, not rhetoric. “I want you to do everything in you can here in the closing hours of the Ames straw poll to give support to my campaign,” Pawlenty said. “I want to look you in the eye – each of you in this arena – and tell you I know what this country needs. I understand our conservative principles. I understand what needs to be done and I’m not just going to stand up here and give you the words. You can take it to the bank. I will restore America’s promise and lead this country to a better, brighter, stronger place.”                 Tim Pawlenty's supporters stream into the auditorium to hear his speech. (photo via ABC's Polson Kanneth) Sights and Sounds of Ames ABC News' Matt Jaffe takes us to the epicenter of Ames. Here's a glimpse: The food line at Bachmann’s tent is incredibly long. It’s almost as long as the music at her rallies is loud. Okay, maybe not quite, but still. And Jaffe would know, his ears are still recovering from her last rally. Pawlenty’s tent has a massive Famous Dave’s BBQ operation going on. Just my two cents, but I think they’re the early winner for best smelling tent. The former Minnesota Governor missed the photo op with all the other candidates in Hilton Coliseum because he was outside shaking hands with supporters at his tent. These are the colors of Ames: red and blue for Bachmann as well as for Paul, but green for Pawlenty, and maroon (a la Texas A&M) for Americans for Rick Perry. Then you’ve got orange NRA hats dotting the crowd, too. Possibly because of the green shirts, Pawlenty’s supporters seem to be the easiest to spot. And it probably goes without saying, but his campaign decided to put their supporters in green shirts – rather than red and blue like Bachmann and Paul – because they “wanted to be unique,” Pawlenty’s spokesman Alex Conant said. In terms of signage on the road into Ames, it was a two-man game: Ron Paul vs Rick Santorum. Funny thing was both of their signs were blue with white writing and flashes of red, so when you’re going 65 mph down the highway, they might as well look the same. Then again, there aren’t many cars doing 65 mph with all the traffic… When I was standing outside Bachmann’s tent, Marcus Bachmann was there shaking hands with supporters. One girl walked up wearing a t-shirt that said, “Some dudes marry dudes. Get over it.” She shook his hand and walked into the tent. Asked if she’d vote for Bachmann, she said she would… if Bachmann became an atheist. I asked Marcus Bachmann if he thought his wife would win today. In response, he asked me what news outlet I was with. When I said ABC News, he ignored me and walked away. Gorgeous day in Ames. Couldn’t have asked for better weather here. Ran into one woman standing in a food line with ice packs all over her back. She said she’d gotten hit by a golf cart. Ah, the perils of the straw poll… The Pizza Man Guess what Herman Cain is handing out to supporters? "Godfathers Pizza. What else? Line stretches. Smell entices," tweets ABC's Susan Archer. The former Godfather's CEO's campaign served more than 3,000 slices of pizza today, Cain spokeswoman Ellen Carmichael said. (via ABC's Michael Falcone)                 The Ron Paul Playground At Ron Paul's "Prosperity Playground" Ames Straw Poll goers could dunk Ben Bernanke.                 Or slide down the giant "Sliding Dollar" slide.                 Big Spender Officials from Ron Paul's presidential campaign say they have spent close to half-a-million dollars on their straw poll effort, ABC News's Michael Falcone reports. "We hope it pays off," spokesman Gary Howard told ABC News in an interview from the straw poll grounds on Saturday. Paul's son, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., warned the crowd at Paul's tent that if his father wins the straw poll, "some will try to deligitmize" it. "This isn't an online poll," Senator Paul said. "If Ron Paul wins the poll today, it's going to be a message heard 'round the world." ABC's Jason Volak reports that Paul, R-Tx., comes into today’s Ames Straw Poll as a top-three favorite and hopes for a top finish. “Chances are reasonable — if I finish fourth or fifth or sixth – I would not be very happy, it would be very discouraging,” Paul said at a campaign stop in Waterloo, Iowa, on Wednesday. “I certainly hope and expect that we would do significantly better than we did last time.” "Secessionist" Support:  ABC Arlette Saenz snags a shot of three "secessionists" outside the hotel where gov perry is set to announce today. They have gathered to show their support Perry. "we've waited 150 years for him." "vote Rick perry for president." The three supporters are actually with SC Forward Progress, who is trying to poke fun at the Texas governor and also shed light on his extreme policies.                 Cain's Gospel Jams GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain may not get many votes but the man HAS got a voice. In a rich baritone, he sang a gospel song…"Hold on just a little while longer…everything's gonna be all right…" with Mike Huckabee on base and an enthusiastic audience that started clapping along in cadence, observed ABC's Andrew Fies. He sang a second song with no Huckabee but accompanied by gospel choir karaoke… "I must tell Jesus…" Favorite sighting of the day (so far): ABC's Katie Bosland spotted Rick Santorum and supporters with a bagpiper in tow at Iowa Straw Poll.                       All about the fashion:  Ron Paul's granddaughters and supporters sport Ron Paul dresses specially made for the occasion, ABC's Susan Archer tweets.                 Santorum Family Sweets ABC's Jake Tapper scored some of Rick Santorum's presidential peach preserves. The preserves are not just home-made, but home-grown as well. The peaches come straight from the the Santorum family peach tree in the family's backyard. Michael Falcone says they are getting good reviews.                 The Stakes ABC's Michael Falcone and Amy Walter point out, today's event is less "American Idol" and more "Survivor.”  Tim Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann need a strong showing here to prove they have what it takes to win next year's Caucus. And ABC's Matt Jaffe reports that "the consensus here in Iowa is that Michele Bachmann, Tim Pawlenty and Ron Paul — in some order  — will likely compose the top three."  ABC's Jake Tapper breaks down the stakes and the expectations leading up to the big day:   On the Ballot Those who reserved space at the Straw Poll were guaranteed to be on the ballot, according to the Iowa GOP. They include Michelle Bachman, Herman Cain, Thaddeus McCotter, Ron Paul, Tim Pawlenty and Rick Santorum. In addition to those who reserved space, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman and Mitt Romney were included on the ballot. A write-in option will also be available. The Rick Perry Factor Not all eyes will be on Ames today as Texas Gov. Rick Perry will make his candidacy official at a RedState Gathering in Charleston, S.C. As ABC's David Kerley and Arlette Saenz report, by announcing in South Carolina, the Texas governor is throwing out the conventional political playbook as most of the Republican presidential field focuses on Iowa. Perry, the longest-serving governor in the country who has accounted for 37 percent of all jobs created since the recession, will use his announcement to set the agenda for his presidential bid, focusing heavily on the need to fix the economy. "Our nation cannot and must not endure four more years of aimless foreign policy," Perry will say, according to prepared remarks. "We cannot and must not endure four more years of rising unemployment … rising taxes … rising debt … and rising energy dependence on nations that intend us harm. It is time to get America working again." Spotted: Bush '04 Sticker A George W. Bush supporter rolls into Ames. Bush Jr. is the only Ames Straw Poll winner in history to go on to win the White House. From ABC's Polson Kanneth:                 Best of #iastrawpoll michaelpfalcone: #Santorum: "This campaign is about scrating and clawing for every bit of recognition we can get” #iastrawpoll @jaketapper:@THEHermanCain tells me even if he comes in last he will stay in the race "and you can quote me on that." @michaelpfalcone:#Bachmann volunteers making things easy #iastrawpoll @jaketapper:@MikeHuckabee rocking the @RickSantorum tent – endorses Santorum's "principles" but not any candidacy @michaelpfalcone:Rand Paul: "If Ron Paul wins today it's going to be a message heard 'round the world"#iastrawpoll @amyewalter:Remarkable lack of political bumper stickers in parking lot of biggest political event of the summer #iastrawpoll @jaketapper:Doesn't necessarily mean anything, but every Straw Poll voter I met at the state fair said s/he was likely voting for @MicheleBachmann The Day Ahead in Ames
Here’s the schedule of speakers at today’s straw poll (all times central): Noon: Program Begins 12:15: Iowa GOP Chairman Matt Strawn delivers remarks 12:20: Governor Terry Branstad delivers remarks 12:30: Chairman Strawn welcomes all candidates on stage (press shot) 12:40: Senator Rick Santorum delivers remarks 1:00: Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds delivers remarks 1:15: Congressman Ron Paul delivers remarks 1:40: Congressman Steve King delivers remarks 1:50: Governor Tim Pawlenty delivers remarks 2:10: Senator Chuck Grassley delivers remarks 2:20: Congresswoman Michele Bachmann delivers remarks 2:40: Congressman Tom Latham delivers remarks 2:50: Congressman Thaddeus McCotter delivers remarks 3:15: Herman Cain delivers remarks 4:00: Straw Poll voting closes. Iowa GOP Chairman Matt Strawn will deliver the results on stage immediately after they’ve been tabulated, according to the party. (schedule via ABC's Michael Falcone(@michaelpfalcone) and Amy Walter(@amyewalter)

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